Last month one of only two drug courts in Scotland heard its final case as Fife Drug Court closed. The court, which sits at Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline sheriff courts, was opened in 2002, following the setup of a similar initiative in Glasgow.
It was reported in the national newspapers that one of the reasons behind the closure of the drugs court in Fife was due to lack of court capacity. This follows proposed changes to the court service in Fife which will see the end of jury trials in Kirkcaldy and the closure of the sheriff court in Cupar.
I am deeply disappointed that this decision has been taken and I am sure this is a feeling that will be shared by communities across the Kingdom that has to deal with the consequences of drug-related crime.
The drugs court focused on tackling and stopping the cycle of drug abuse and crime. Everyone I have spoken to who works with the drugs court agrees that it is valuable and worthwhile.
The closure of Fife drug court can only be seen as a backwards step and is increasingly looking to be one that has been made due to cost rather than need. I am astonished that the Sheriff Principle sites lack of capacity as a determining factor when Cupar Sheriff court has been closed and Kirkcaldy is set to be downgraded.
When the Scottish Government took the decision to close Cupar I warned it would have a negative impact on justice across Fife. Now we are seeing that come to fruition and as a result services are now being cut.
It is due to cuts being administered by the SNP at Holyrood that we are now seeing the erosion of local justice and it will be victims across the Kingdom that will be affected.